Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Phew! (02/11/10)
TITLE: Who Would Rob A Library in a Little Bitty Town?
By Kate Oliver Webb
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Bess-the-Operator got the general idea, and sent Chief Clark to the library. River Falls was a tiny little place, adjacent to another little town called Raven, which bordered the “city” called Branscomb. The three towns were each incorporated, but were so small, no one knew why they hadn’t united for the sake of public services, at least. But the situation had survived that way so long, no one could remember why they were separate in the first place.
Chief Clark arrived within five minutes-—which seemed like half a day to Keri Baker and her assistant Benji, who had arrived while Keri was yelling into her phone.
“Open again, huh?” the Chief remarked. She nodded. “You call it in?” She nodded again. “See anything?”
The Chief opened the door with his gloved hand and leaving the two librarians on the porch, went inside. Hurriedly, Benji whispered to Keri, “Did you call Joe?” She shook her head.
“What good would that do?” she asked bitterly. “They thought it was him last time, remember?” Figuring she ought to be close by in case Chief Tommy Clark had any questions, Keri grabbed a handful of Benji’s jacket sleeve and tugged him inside.
“Touch anything?” Chief Clark asked when she got within hearing range.
“Anything different from the last time?”
“Well, yes,” Keri replied, feeling herself ready to get back on the roll she was on with the 9-1-1 operator. “Now that you mention it, Chief, this time I’m mad. The first two times I was just scared.” She paused and looked around her, taking in the library stacks, the tidy little check-out desk. “Yep, I guess that’s about all I see that’s different this time.” Sarcasm dripped.
Benji squeezed her hand and looked apologetically at the Chief. “She’s really scared, Tommy.”
The Chief made a note in the little pad he carried around with him (Keri wondered if he’d copied that from a TV show).
“You might be happy to know, my friends,” the Chief said in his pompous voice, “that Joe isn’t in town this time.”
“Well, whew!” Keri wiped at her forehead. “I’m sure glad the Chief ferreted out that clue, because I’ve been wondering why I’ve been doing Joe’s shift this week, haven’t you, Benji?”
The Chief ignored that, and asked her to get Joe on the phone. Giving Benji a look, Keri did as requested, and when she reached Joe, she handed her cell phone to Chief Clark.
“Joe.” It wasn’t a friendly tone. “Got another open door here at your library. Got any explanation?”
“Well Chief, it wasn’t me, cuz I’m not in River Falls!” Keri and Benji could both hear the belligerence in Joe’s voice. “But I’ve got a clue this time. I left the key with Marian cuz she said she lost hers and needed to get in to clean.”
The Chief eyed the two standing before him, and they nodded, yes they’d heard. Tommy said his goodbyes to Joe, then said to Keri, “We’ll sort this out. I’ll go see Marian; meanwhile, you get in all the keys you got out and get a new batch made.”
Happy that he’d got that cleared up, he did a little salute and
headed for his car.
“That went well,” Keri said with her usual sarcasm. “Got any ideas on what to do, Benj?”
“Not at the moment, but we can make a plan.” As was habitual with them, they clasped hands and prayed, asking God to direct their efforts to find justice and protect their library.
“Okay, Keri,” Benji grabbed a notepad. “First: do we know whether anything was taken the first two times?” When she shook her head, he said, “Well then, that’s number one on our list, go through the entire library….”
“Whew,” they said in unison, realizing the task ahead.
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